Capture Your Grief – What it Felt Like. 

Without hope it felt impossible. We were given a sliver of hope he possibly could make it to full term and be a candidate for surgery. That sliver allowed us the ability to be present with our reality. It allowed me to love fearlessly and unconditionally.

The day the doctors told us our dear Teddy had no hope for life outside my womb felt like we were hit by a tsunami. Our world was destroyed and left in emotional shambles. We knew our only hope of surviving this storm would be by holding onto hope and focusing 100% on love. Love was our driving force. There was no room for anger, blame or even fear. Our time together was going to be short and this precious boy deserved to feel a lifetime of love in a few short months.

The day we were told his heart had begun to fail and the end was near felt heavy, our hearts cracked a little bit deeper and our love for him poured out like a waterfall. I felt desperate to ensure he had all the love he deserved and was Mothered by a Mom who loved him more than words can describe. He deserved it all.

Ten days later the end and a new beginning emerged. Theo was born. Our hearts felt peace. The room felt warm and full of love. His heart beat it’s last beat against mine and all things wrong were made right. It was as it should be. He was never intended to live long but he was intended to deliver purpose and that was accomplished.

6 hours later we said our goodbyes. My whole being broke as I handed my beloved baby over, to never feel his weight again, to never kiss his cheeks or hear him cry. He was gone and my heart was shattered as it screamed for my baby back.

For weeks after my arms physically ached to hold him one more time, my chest was heavy as if bricks were laid upon it and the world around me kept turning as mine halted.

Today the fog has lifted, my chest is lighter and the most valuable and cherished lessons have been learned. My days of feeling heavy, and stuck in the mud with fog all around aren’t over but they come less frequent and don’t stay as long. My days of wishing things were different aren’t over, maybe one day I will give up wishing, but today isn’t that day.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness – Article in Local Paper. 

October is Pregnancy and Infant loss Awareness Month. 1 in 5 pregnancies result in a miscarriage and 1 in 100 births end with a baby passing away before, at or shortly after birth. I personally have experienced both. My early loss was my first son Jack’s twin early in pregnancy in 2012. It was physically painful, extremely scary, and emotionally heartbreaking. Our second loss was December 9, 2015 when our third son Theodore was born and passed away from a Congenital Heart Defect. This loss is profound and has taken our family on a beautiful journey learning to love fearlessly and unconditionally.

Reflecting upon my early emotions from these losses I realized both times we felt alone. We didn’t openly talk about our first loss and with the loss of Theodore we choose to be open in hopes that those who walk this journey after us will find comfort knowing they aren’t alone. No two journeys of loss are the same, but there are threads that are woven in the fabric of a heart broken from the loss of a baby that are mirrored in each loss. I have found being able to speak and write openly about our journey to be therapeutic.

I often wonder why, with something so common, do we have a culture which is uncomfortable talking about miscarriages and infant loss. What I know to be true is that healing happens when the pain is acknowledged, when the name of your baby is spoken, and when you are loved through your journey no matter how messy it gets. Living your forever without your baby is hard, mothering a child you can only hold in your heart feels incredibly overwhelming and impossible at times but with the love and support of your community this can feel lighter. It can feel bearable.

The day Theodore was born and left our physical world was the day a new me was born. I have had to be gentle with myself as I struggle to figure out whom that new me really is; how to navigate the world with a broken heart that will never mend and with a void that can never be filled. I see my son missing from every moment of my life. It is impossible to see my two boys and not see the third missing. I also see him present everywhere. He has many ways to tell me how close he truly is especially at times my heart hurts the most.

Experiences like these leave you at a crossroads choosing between walking the path that allows you to form a hard shell over your shattered heart or becoming open, vulnerable, and honest. Knowing the path would be harder but so much more rewarding, we chose the latter. Our family is forever changed in most beautiful ways because we are walking this journey by choosing the route that leads us to love fearlessly.

Many couples have silently carried the loss of a baby for decades. A parent doesn’t get over a loss like this but the loss can feel lighter with time and sharing helps lighten this load. Throughout this month, share your experiences with one another. Talk about the babies we no longer can hold, use their names, and ask questions. It is time we break the silence and embrace the truth about life. Babies die. It is heartbreaking but true. There is no shame and it doesn’t need to be uncomfortable. We can comfort and lift each other up, if we can be open with the reality that this happens to many.

http://www.intelligencer.ca/2016/10/03/healing-comes-easier-when-we-discuss-our-loss

Capture Your Grief – Who Are They? 

Theodore Rutherford Williams. Also known a Theo, Teddy, and my forever baby. He is a son, a little brother, a Grandson, a nephew, a cousin, a friend. He was a boy who was loved long before he was transferred to his forever home, my womb. He spent 3 years in the freezer and 3 months of that with his brother Jack. He is a teacher of all things to do with love. He has been my biggest blessing and largest heartache. His life was short but full of purpose. Every second of heartache is worth it to have spent 3 years in my heart waiting to be transfer to my womb, the 30 weeks in my womb and the precious 22 minutes after birth. My gratitude for him choosing me as his Mother is unending. He shows me how close he is in a multitude of ways, I feel so blessed.

Heartache & Joy Can Coexist. 

I am not expert on grief. Grief and I have only been acquainted for 9 months. But I have become an expert on my grief, not my husband’s, and certainly not yours, but my own ever changing journey of grief.

This is the thing about grief; no two people have the same journey; not even if two people lost the same baby, or father, or sibling, or pet. The journey will always be experienced differently. It only makes sense to me that this would be true since we have all experienced a very different life leading up to that loss. We all have very different relationships with our support networks and different relationships with those in our lives who aren’t supportive. But mostly it comes down to the fact that we simply have a very different lens through which we view the experience.

Meeting those who have experienced a loss very similar to my loss of Theodore has shown me that as much as we have similar threads woven in our hearts, we are all very much on our own journey. The authentic sharing of our hearts and feelings allows space for these differences. A deeper connection is made when a thread that feels so close to a thread you carry is exposed or when you hold space for a thread that isn’t something that you have experienced or feel but can love that person whole heartedly while meeting them where they are at.

The last few weeks have really made me take a hard look at my journey and all the experiences I have gone through. I have encountered some of the most beautiful people who can surprisingly do all the right things, which often include doing nothing but sending love openly and acknowledging where I am at without judgment. Then there are those who are able to offer love as long as it doesn’t distract from their personal happiness. Experiencing this a few times I have realized our society is very uncomfortable with allowing heartache and joy to coexist. Life isn’t linear. It has many twists and turns, hills, valleys and mountains. It has moments that leave you bursting with love and joy as well as moments that are heart wrenching. It is unreasonable to think that we would all be at the same place at the same time. The only way to fully support each other through real life is by allowing both heartache and joy to coexist in a beautifully open way. One simply can’t distract from the other; allowing both to be present makes it authentically beautiful.

After digging a bit deeper within myself and wondering why people struggle with the notion that heartache and joy can coexist, I found myself returning to the judgment piece. Often people who have experienced a loss of any kind feel judged. Those surrounding a person experiencing loss are often peeking in a window to that person’s world looking for signs of them “getting better”. People love to say statements such as “you are doing amazing” or “you aren’t getting better” or even “you seem to be getting worse”. The truth is all of that is garbage. It is just a judgmental perspective even when said out of love. The truth is “better” or “getting worse” are just your judgmental observations of my grief and have nothing to do with me. I have just been me experiencing my emotions. They may last a minute, a day, a week, a year, or a lifetime and anything in between. I don’t feel better or worse, I just feel. Sometimes it is heavy and may look like it is getting messy and sometimes it is light and beautiful but one isn’t better than the other. It truly is nothing more than IT JUST IS.

Maybe if people can view the hard stuff in life without judgment and accept it for what it is, then it will become easier to allow space for it right beside another person’s beautiful happy moments in life.

Because no two people’s experience with loss is identical it makes it impossible to compare journeys and leaves no room for judgment. The hard truth is you simply can’t fairly judge what you don’t know. It has been said a million times but, there is no timeline for grief. I personally don’t agree with labeling stages of grief. It just is. Meeting a person where they are at, with no judgment, while loving them through it all is the only way to support one another in life.

My only advice to loving a person experiencing grief is to acknowledge their feelings, give them endless amounts of love and recognize that your impressions and judgments about their grief is truly about you and not them. They are just feeling what their heart feels just like you do every day about a million other things.

 

 

Your Thread is Forever 

Teddy playing with his brother last Sunday morning. (Look for the green orbs)
Teddy my sweet,

I come to you today with love and gentle arms that hold you dear. Life has been ever changing since you came and left our physical world. My life has always been forever evolving, I have been given a blessed life in that way. Since you enter my life, my world changes so quickly, sometimes from moment to moment and sometimes in ways that are permanent but it is those shifts I am most grateful for.

I have days that my heart is so heavy I wonder how I can carry this weight for the rest of forever. I also have days where my heart is light, it feels beautiful, I see things that remind me of you and instead of sadness it brings joy. I know I need to walk the path that leads me to joy. To the place you would want me to be, yet walking it is scary; to let go of the heartache, to allow it to slip a way without fear it may never come back. I have been so scared to make this choice as it feels like I am walking away from you. My brain knows this is not the truth but my heart can sure make it feel as if it is. I am choosing to be brave, I am choosing to allow some of the pain shed from my being allowing space for more joy to grow.

You are a thread that is woven into the fabric of our family. A thread that is so important because with it we are stronger. This is a thread that can never be removed, can never be forgotten, and now without it we simply wouldn’t be us. I have had fear people with time wouldn’t see your thread woven into the fabric of our family. I have had fear people wouldn’t see how important you really are or how much you matter. The truth is I know, your Dad knows, your brothers know and those who love us know how special  you are so maybe that is all that really matters. It is enough that only we know and those that are close to us who choose to understand will also always know and maybe it is time for me to be okay with allowing you to just be uniquely you and loved by those close to us just as you would had you lived.

I know as I walk this journey with you I can’t make a wrong turn but I can make better turns. I can make choices that can foster a life with more love and more joy and by doing so doesn’t take away from you but adds to you and your value to our family. I want our family to be woven with a multitude of colourful threads all equally important as the next. Your colour will always shine bright and be visible to our family.

Walking the path to joy isn’t always easy. I have learned that we need to protect our hearts sometimes. We have to take time for ourselves and that is is okay to not put ourselves in situations that triggers heartache. Recently those who truly love us, have been extremely loving as we have chosen to tend to our heart’s needs and we are so grateful for the unconditional love we have received.

Teddy, I am always here, I will always love you. Till the day we meet again you will be loved, this much I know is true.

Your Mommy

PS – Thank you for showing up in our pictures this last weekend. I love it when you show up.

Surviving the Tsunami of Grief


My love Theodore,

I am here, one with you in our hammock over looking Papineau Lake. The sun is shining, the wind is blowing a beautiful breeze and I am laying here with our crazy dog Jam beneath me while Patrick is sleeping and Jack is fishing with your Dad and Great Uncle Freeman.

You have been on my mind endlessly. I have spent much time in the last week thinking of how hard I crashed after riding a pretty long wave of peace. How depleted I felt, how the permanence of you being gone hit so hard and realizing how I will wake up in 20 years and have days like I just experienced.

I wrote you last from your resting place, I was the saddest I have been since you came into my world . My sadness stole my strength, my ability to function and complete simple tasks for three days. Filling my car with gas is an example of something I simply couldn’t do. My strength was replaced by endless tears, a tap was turned on and near impossible to turn off. You see grief is nothing more than a storm that comes and goes. Sometimes it is a beautiful rain shower and other times it is as crippling as a tsunami. I have now experienced the tsunami and the power it comes with.

I am so grateful to have felt it. To have lived it and to be reassured that the calm will always return and I will be okay. The calm did come, life went back to our new normal and your brothers have their Mom back and your Dad has his wife once again. We laugh, we love and we live. The tsunami temporarily steals that all from you. My heart aches for those who feel this on a more regular frequency.

So here I am with you, thinking and feeling so grateful for all you give me. Your gifts are ones I would give back in a heartbeat to have you in my arms if that was an option but it simply isn’t. So being open to see these gifts even if it is by having to look in the rearview mirror helps me to continue to grow and remain open for change. Having the tsunami hit allowed me to feel what many feel when struggling with life, sometimes you just can’t push the hard stuff aside, suck it up and get on with life. Sometimes life says enough! Enough is enough and you have to sit with it and feel it all. I appreciate the new perspective. I know it will be a matter of time before another hits but I am grateful for the variety of storms that come allowing me to feel such a wide range of emotions and gain a broader view which enables me to be much more empathetic. For now I am enjoying the wave of peace and holding you in my heart in the most loving way I can.

As I lay here I envision how it would have been, me and you rocking ever so gently in the hammock, the breeze blowing and you sleeping peacefully in my chest. I love you, I will never stop imagining all what could have been. Sometimes it hurts to think of and sometimes I can dream peacefully and full of love. Today I feel the latter.

Loving you is easy.

Your biggest fan, your Mommy